Playing with my nerves (intensely)...
If Givenchy Gentleman is a "Stairway to Heaven" (although a slightly begrimed one), then Play Intense is "What goes around...comes around". And it's just as alpha male as Justin Timberlake compared to Robert Plant. It's also like the difference between entering a mouldy basement rehearsal room and entering a noisy mall with a greater than usual ratio of patisseries and sweet shops. Yes, there's noise and smells in both places, but only one of them has the potential to make a legend out of them.
I don't know if that's the case with other countries too, but seeing samples delivered in cheap plastic sachets instead of glass phials (let alone miniature bottles) gets on my usually stolid nerves. Especially when they require a crowbar to be pried open. I guess that Justin's check swallowed all the glass available, just like those guys in sideshows of yore did. Or maybe it's just a hint that plastic is here to stay, slowly casting out all natural ingredients and burying them in polymer caskets.
Now, I DO NOT like so-called gourmands. Don't get me wrong, I love the smell of coffee and all these little pieces of heaven that usually come with a cup. It's just the fact I believe that the only people who should smell like candy are the ones exiting a candy workshop, and that coffee without the smell of smoke is like Bonnie without Clyde. And I don't really understand why a fragrance containing coffee and caramel is a gourmand, while one containing lemon and sage isn't. Did herbs and citruses ceased to be edible at some point?
Anyway, let's skip culinary debates and talk intensity and presence. Well, my take on playing intense goes like this.
I still use an antediluvian CEC turntable and a Wharfedale amplifier/receiver for listening to music when at home. They both come from the '70s, and despite being heavy, bulky and by no means portable, they're made of wood and metal and they have something that no iPod will ever have. Soul. They behave in the selfsame way that their contemporaneous fragrances used to do. By filling a room with their presence. Visually, acoustically and olfactorily. Yes people, music does have a smell. Or at least it used to. It's the smell of the vacuum tubes being heated, the smell of air perturbed by monstrous speakers, the smell of a brand new vinyl record, the smell of sweat mixed with notes. Like the smell that once rendered Givenchy a linchpin of the fragrance world. Like the smell which used to foreshadow that something serious was coming our way. Like the smell which assured us that a scent's ingredients were born in the fields an not in test tubes. Like the smell that my Givenchy Gentleman bottles from the '70s pack in shedloads. Like the smell that Play Intense is the farthest cry from smelling anything like it.